Devastated but not Despairing

My darling babies,

A few days ago, a very disturbed man shot and killed six adults and twenty children in their school, in addition to injuring others. Those little children were only 6 or 7 years old. Babies. Darling babies of other parents.

I cried most of the day.

Even now, several days later, tears continue to well up from time to time. And I’ve been trying to find the words to process this terrible tragedy. But they’ve been failing me.

In a sense, I’ve felt stymied. How do we move on from this? What is appropriate action to take?

Before the news was even an hour old, it was already being politicized. People on both sides of the gun control debate were spouting pithy comments – the same tired arguments we’ve heard thousands of times. Then there were those who started commenting about prayer and religion in public schools and the nation as a whole. And then a discussion of mental illness started up: how can we as a society find balance between providing support for the mentally ill and providing protection for the general public?

So many questions, babies. You are still young enough to remain blissfully oblivious to world events, and for that Daddy and I are immeasurably thankful. But we know your innocence won’t last forever, and soon enough we’ll have to answer some very difficult questions.

And how do we keep you safe? One of my first thoughts after hearing the news was of all the security measures our chosen preschool employs … and all the ways someone with enough determination could get past them. If we hide you at home, you would miss out on so many opportunities and experiences, and there are still no guarantees that you would be completely out of harm’s way.

We are devastated. We are rocked to the core. But we have to hold on to hope. And we have to hold on to our faith.

Daddy dropped Munchkin off at school yesterday morning, and she had a great day. But there is an undercurrent of prayer throughout each day lately: prayer for the families of those who died, prayer for the small community stunned by the violence, and prayer for a country searching for answers and how best to effect positive change.

I pray constantly for your safety, babies. I pray for your health: physical, mental and emotional. I pray that you will be unaffected by the terrors of this world for as long as possible. I pray for strength and wisdom for your parents and other adults who shepherd you as you grow. And though I pray fervently that you will have long lives, I thank God that you have been washed by the water of Baptism. Through His Grace, you have been saved; I know that even if the unthinkable were to happen, we will be reunited in heaven.

That is my solace.

Love,

Mama

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

–Psalm 27:1 ESV

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

–Matthew 28:20b

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